I was talking with a screenwriter of commonplaces and we ended up talking of Cortina d’Ampezzo and the Winter Olympics in 2026. It's little under five years to go – but only a couple of months till the 2021 Alpine Ski World Championships -, and therefore there's enough time to be prepared in every aspect: slopes, roads, hospitality, communication, including presenting Cortina in an original way, avoiding any commonplaces.

I mention this after reading the thoughts of Riccardo Felicetti, in the following piece, which is very strong in multiple parts, but for now I want to stress this part in particular: «This is no longer the time to remain anchored to old storytelling logic, with the rhetoric of the "old style" product as the only guarantee of something good and genuine».

Now, I'll leave the Once upon a time to children fairy tales, in the hope that parents are still reading them and don't entrusting tablets and smartphones to replace them. I could never stand reading that in some restaurant by the sea the grandfather was a fisherman or that another establishment was a place where who knows what historical event happened one hundred years ago which inspired the tasting menu.

And I can't stand it even more now that we've left a horrible 2020 behind us, entering 2021 in the hope that vaccines will be effective and that people will show some good sense, which has not always been the case when it comes to vaccines.

It's not just the world of pasta that needs truth when communicating, but pasta is our flag. Let's try to wave it with pride, realism, intelligence.

Paolo Marchi

 

‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 

Open in browser

alt_text
alt_text
Monograno Felicetti 
alt_text

Newsletter 84 del 08 january 2021

Dear {{NOME}},

I was talking with a screenwriter of commonplaces and we ended up talking of Cortina d’Ampezzo and the Winter Olympics in 2026. It's little under five years to go – but only a couple of months till the 2021 Alpine Ski World Championships -, and therefore there's enough time to be prepared in every aspect: slopes, roads, hospitality, communication, including presenting Cortina in an original way, avoiding any commonplaces.

I mention this after reading the thoughts of Riccardo Felicetti, in the following piece, which is very strong in multiple parts, but for now I want to stress this part in particular: «This is no longer the time to remain anchored to old storytelling logic, with the rhetoric of the "old style" product as the only guarantee of something good and genuine».

Now, I'll leave the Once upon a time to children fairy tales, in the hope that parents are still reading them and don't entrusting tablets and smartphones to replace them. I could never stand reading that in some restaurant by the sea the grandfather was a fisherman or that another establishment was a place where who knows what historical event happened one hundred years ago which inspired the tasting menu.

And I can't stand it even more now that we've left a horrible 2020 behind us, entering 2021 in the hope that vaccines will be effective and that people will show some good sense, which has not always been the case when it comes to vaccines.

It's not just the world of pasta that needs truth when communicating, but pasta is our flag. Let's try to wave it with pride, realism, intelligence.

Paolo Marchi

 

What about pasta? Riccardo Felicetti's taken on 2020

alt_text
alt_text

Riccardo Felicetti's dish of the year? «Spaghettini with almonds and basil from Andrea Berton: pasta in a dessert version with all the ingredients in perfect balance» (photo Stefano Caffarri)

What was 2020 like for pasta? Riccardo Felicetti tells us with his usual frankness. «In this annus horribilis, the industry has grown a lot. Pasta was the alley of all the men and women who spent more time in the kitchen, out of necessity. And this happened regardless of the latitude. A moving closer that went in the opposite direction to what we experienced the previous year. In 2021 – and in the years to come – we will need to work to strengthen this growth».

The manager of Pastificio Felicetti in Predazzo uses the first person plural not by chance: «In difficult situations, instead of joining our forces as we should, we start to scathe one another.  But this is not the right approach. And it's no longer the time to remain anchored to old storytelling ideas, with the rhetoric of the products from the 'olden days' as the only guarantee of something good and genuine. So, in the same way as in the past few months we've learnt to accept new technologies or vaccines conceived as fast as speedlight, we should trust innovations more, even those that have to do with pasta, which perhaps can dry even in 4 hours, instead of 4 days».

Enough of these not always truthful stories: «You'll never grow if you follow stereotypes. In fact, you create detachment. And the same applies to those who try to discredit an entire category to sell a few extra kilos of spaghetti. Every type of pasta has its scope and dignity».

Antonio Buono: Eliconi in the style of Liguria and Provence

alt_text
alt_text

​(photo Simone Puglisi)

«Pasta with the aroma of Provence», says Antonio Buono, with Valentina Florio at the helm of Casa Buono in Trucco - Ventimiglia (Imperia), «is an expression of culinary syncretism between the typical cuisine of Liguria, represented by basil pesto, and that of Marseille and Provence, with the bouillabaisse. It's a dish we love making because we like serving to our guests not just something good and warm, but also a dish that has a story and represents the region of Casa Buono, with a hint to my origins from Campania. Dry pasta is perfect for this dish».

«And if to get a better understanding of the ingredients, we could recall that the pesto can also be found in Provence, with less cheese and more garlic; it was made mostly in olive wood mortars, instead of the Ligurian ones strictly made of marble. In the same way the bouillabaisse, the fish soup, is famous and prepared in different ways in every seaside city from the sunny Provence to Genoa and beyond».

«All in all, this is a rather homogenous region, culinarily speaking: the Alps push towards the sea a strip of land mainly cultivated with olive trees and vineyards on terraces. And culturally speaking too: let's remember that until 1860 the French border started after Nice. It was the people and the tastes that caused a favouring for some ingredients rather than others, and thus transformed pesto in an emblem of regional cuisine, for Liguria, and bouillabaisse for Provence. In just one recipe we have territories, flavours, stories and men and women».

Eliconi pasta with the aroma of Provence 

Recipe for 4 people

INGREDIENTS
400 g eliconi pasta
30 g basil pesto 
2 l of bouillabaisse

for the  bouillabaisse
1 kg small rock fish 
50 g evo oil 
1 g star anise 
20 g Pastis
5 g organic lemon zest 
30 g basil
5 peppercorns 
5 g coriander seeds 
30 g kombu
1 onion
half a fennel 
1 sprig of dried wild fennel 
head of lobster 
0.5 g saffron 
1 garlic clove 
2 litres of fish stock 
500 g tomato

for the pesto
100 g basil from Prà
1 garlic clove 
1 handful of pine nuts 
7 gr salt 
70 g parmigiano reggiano
20 g Fiore Sardo
70 g olive oil

METHOD
We start by preparing the bouillabaisse. In a large casserole tin, cook the lobster head and the rock fish with the olive oil over a low heat. Add the vegetables and spices and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the tomato and the fish stock. Continue cooking for around 1.5 hours over a low heat. After this amount of time, strain in the vegetable processor and leave to reduce over a low heat until the soup is halved. The result will be a rather concentrated bouillabaisse.

Prepare the basil pesto, by pounding or even blending the ingredients. Cook the pasta in the bouillabaisse and once the pasta is cooked, remove it from the fish soup and place it in a large china soup bowl and mix it with the pesto. If you wish, you can add a tablespoon of bouillabaisse.

The duo at Duo: reginette and oysters

alt_text
alt_text

«We chose», Marco Primiceri and Lucia De Prai from restaurant Duo in Chiavari (Genoa) say «because it's a format we like in Liguria and it's very popular even during the holidays. Given the luxury you often treat yourself to in this season, we decided to pair this pasta with oysters».

Reginette with marjoram in oyster broth 

Recipe for 2 people

for the broth 
100 g Swiss chards
200 ml clam water 
4 oysters
40 ml sciacchetrà Cinque Terre

Open the oysters and rinse them in their water. Strain the water and set aside. Blanch the chards in boiling unsalted water and then cool them in water and ice. Mix all the ingredients in a blender: chards, oysters, clam water, and sciacchetrà. Process until the result is a smooth cream. Season with salt and pepper.

for the shallot cream 
8 shallot
50 g salted butter 
30 ml Jerez vinegar

Melt the butter and cook the shallots. When they are translucid, add the vinegar and reduce. Keep some shallots to finish the dish and blend the rest. Cook the reginette pasta in water aromatised with marjoram. Drain them 5 minutes early and finish cooking them in the cream of shallot with some marjoram leaves. Open an oyster each and pass it under the torch. In a soup bowl, pour the oyster broth. Place the nest of reginette and then finish the dish with shallot petals, the torched oyster and a sprig of marjoram.

Gian Michele Galliano's Tortelli di Cappone

alt_text
alt_text

«This recipe made with fresh pasta», says Gian Michele Galliano, chef and patron at Euthalia in Vicoforte (Cuneo), «is a great classic of our region: Cappone di Morozzo is a simply magnificent Slow Food praesidium. In this case I wanted to adapt the classic plin with a cone-shaped tortello and the broth is replaced by an infusion, clarified, naturally, with cryo-extraction. In this way we extract as much flavour as we can, and the broth is perfectly clear. Artemisia, a very bitter herb from our mountains, highlights the flavour and adds a wild and herbaceous aromatic note».

Tortelli di Cappone di Morozzo, its infusion and artemisia

Recipe for 4 people

for the Cappone di Morozzo
Remove the skin from the capon, remove the thighs, debone them and cut out the breast. Clean carefully and keep the carcass and the bones for later.

for the capon infusion 
carcass and bones of the capon 
half a white onion burnt on the grill and punched with 2 cloves 
1 sprig of thyme 
1 bay leaf 
1 garlic clove, unpeeled 
20 g dry Marsala 
salt and pepper 
half a teaspoon of soy sauce 
1 pinch of sugar
3.6 g of gelatine, hydrated and squeezed 

Place the carcass in a baking tin and toast in the oven at 180°C for 10 minutes. Place the carcass in a pot with the onion, thyme, bay leaf, garlic, marsala, soy sauce and sugar. With a few ice cubes remove the juices stuck to the baking tin and place them in the pot with the other ingredients. Cover with 3 litres of hot water and slowly bring to the boil. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes, turn off the heat, cover and leave to infuse overnight at room temperature.

The following day, recover the carcass and set aside, then strain the broth and keep 2 litres, warm it up and melt the gelatine sheet in it. Freeze the broth and once it is frozen, place it in a large cone-shaped strain with some etamine inside. Leave to defrost slowly, at room temperature, so as to remove all the impurities and the fat. Add salt, pepper and keep in the fridge.

For the capon sauce 
carcass of capon from the previous procedure, cut into small pieces 
1 white onion 
1 unpeeled garlic clove 
1 sprig each of marjoram, tarragon and thyme 
1 bay leaf 
extra virgin olive oil 
1 l of capon broth 

Brown the carcass in a pot with oil, leaving it to caramelise slowly, then discard the fat and remove the juices with ice. Repeat three times. Then place the finely chopped onion, the bay leaf and the garlic and leave to brown. Add the cold capon broth and bring to the boil. Once it boils, add marjoram, thyme and tarragon and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the fire and leave to infuse for around 3 hours. Strain pressing the carcass and reduce over a high heat until the sauce is syrupy and very tasty. Add salt and pepper if necessary.

For the capon tortelli 
100 g flour 
40 g egg yolk
20 g egg white 
Deboned meat from the capon, cut into small pieces 
60 g endive
60 g white onion 
2 sprigs of thyme 
2 g dry porcini rehydrated in water 
Capon sauce 
Salt and pepper
Evo oil 
10 g mountain butter 

Make the traditional pasta with flour, egg yolk and egg white. Leave it to rest in the fridge, covering it with film. For the filling, start by cooking the meat with a little evo oil in a pan, until it is well cooked. In another pan, fry and caramelise the finely chopped endive, onion and porcini with a little oil, then add the previously cooked meat, the butter and the capon sauce (the quantity must be adjusted based on the richness of the flavour so that the filling is tasty but delicate) and leave to cook under a lid for some 5 minutes so that all the flavours are nicely mixed. Mince the mixture and keep in the fridge for a few hours, best if overnight. Roll out the pastry so it's very thin and make the cone-shaped tortelli. Keep in the fridge.

FINISHING THE DISH
A few leaves of artemisia (not too many because it's very bitter)

Cook the tortelli in half of the capon broth left, place them in a bowl with some small pieces of artemisia. Warm up the remaining broth. In front of the guest, finish the dish by pouring the very hot infusion of capon.

Andrea Zazzara: Squared Conchiglie

alt_text
alt_text

«The dish was inspired», says Andrea Zazzara, chef at Motelombroso in Milan, «by a play with words between the format of the pasta and its seasoning. In some way it tries to recreate the seabed on which the shells of pasta are placed, fake shells in emulsion, the seafood, razor clams and clams, the bread that recalls the sand and the wafers that look like seaweed».

Conchiglie2
Conchiglie Felicetti, clams, razor clams, seafood emulsion, parsley wafer and tarallo

Recipe for 4 people


INGREDIENTS
for the pasta 
200 g conchiglie Felicetti

for the seafood
200 g clams (veraci)
200 g razor clams

For the seafood emulsion 
200 g water from the seafood 
80 g parsley
20 g chervil 
2 garlic cloves 
50 g evo oil 
chilli pepper to taste 
0,5 gr xantana

for the parsley wafer 
100 g parsley
200 g water
10 g rice flour 
10 g cornflour
1 g agar agar
2 g salt

for the taralli
100 g taralli
20 g evo oil 
1 garlic clove 
chilli pepper to taste 

METHOD
for the seafood
In a casserole tin, brown the unpeeled garlic clove with the chilli pepper and parsley. Add the clam and the razor clams gradually, let the seafood open up and remove from the casserole tin. Once they're open, separate the molluscs from the water – which you'll use for the emulsion – and keep in the fridge.

for the seafood emulsion 
In a pot, brown the garlic and chilli pepper, add the water from the molluscs and boil for 2 minutes. In a thermomix add the previously blanched parsley and chervil to the mixture and the xantana. Blend and strain so as to make a smooth and thickened emulsion. Keep in the fridge.

for the parsley wafers 
Blanch the parsley in lots of salted water, drain after 2 minutes and cool. In a blender, put the parsley and the other ingredients (water, cornflour, rice flour, agar agar and salt). Blend and strain. Bring the mixture to the boil in a casserole tin, mixing with a whisk to avoid any lumps. Spread the mixture on a silpat and bake at 140°C for 12-15 minutes.

For the taralli
Toast the previously crushed taralli in a pan, with lots of oil, garlic, parsley and chilli pepper.

DISHING OUT
Place the hot emulsion on the base of the dish, with the pasta with clams and razor clams previously tossed in the pan, adding the taralli and the parsley wafers to finish the dish.

NB: In the photo the seafood emulsion shaped like a shell, with a silicon mould.

Risone and curada from Ciciarà

alt_text
alt_text

«Christmas, for us, is about tradition and memories», Michele Mette and Aronne Giorgietti, cooks at Ciciarà, "new ancient" trattoria in Milano recall, «for Identità di Pasta we decided to start from a dish we hold very dear: ris e curada, "rice and lung" in the dialect of Lombardy, a traditional poor dish but rich in memories. Ever since we opened, we decided to work only with small suppliers and to buy only the whole animal, for ethical reasons, and to prevent waste». 

«One of the biggest challenges was indeed that of lungs, corada. It's a forgotten piece of quinto quarto. After some research we found the recipe in an old cookbook from Ottorina Perna Bozzi. The recipe is originally brothy, but we decided to make it more appealing. We serve a ragù sauce made with lung, which we place on a neutral risotto with butter and parmigiano. We were surprised when some clients became emotional when tasting a dish that had been lost in their childhood memories. For this version we use a format of pasta that is also linked to memories, risone. Se we cook the risone pasta as if it were risotto, mix it with butter, parmigiano and two drops of vinegar. Finally, we add the ragù of lung».

Risone and curada

Recipe for 4 people

INGREDIENTS
200 g veal lung 
30 g pancetta or lardo
2 onions
4 sage leaves 
100 ml red wine 
350 g risone 
30 g butter
50 g parmigiano

METHOD 
Boil the lung in water for 20 minutes and chop it with a knife. Sauté the chopped onion with the pancetta and sage, add the lung and brown it. Add the wine and let it evaporate, then continue cooking over a low heat for 1 hour. Cook the risone pasta as if it were risotto straight in the pan. Mix with butter, parmigiano and a few drops of vinegar to balance the acidity. Place the risone pasta on the base of the dish, and then spread a couple of tablespoons of lung ragù on top.

Giacomo Sacchetto: fusilli, mushrooms and salted cod

alt_text
alt_text

Giacomo Sacchetto serves this dish since last autumn, at his restaurant, La Cru, in Romagnano di Grezzana (Verona). «We mix the fusilli», he says, «with a reduction of fish fumet and one of shallot, white wine vinegar and white wine. When mixing it, we also add Grana Padano. Then on top we place the tripe of the salted cod, cooked in umido, the porcini and other mushrooms from the Monti Lessini, both chopped on the base of the dish, and in pieces on top. We finish with some parsley. A dish with a round flavour, that plays on the balance between sapidity and acidity».

Fusilli, mushrooms, salted cod and parsley 

Recipe for 4 people

INGREDIENTS
200 g fusilli
200 g seafood fumet 
10 mixed mushrooms 
40 g reduction of wine, vinegar and shallot 
60 g desalted tripes of salted cod 
butter
Grana padano
Parsley 

For the reduction 
1 l white wine vinegar  
1 l white wine 
5 finely chopped shallots 

METHOD
for the fish fumet 
Toast in a pot the carcass of the white fish, add white wine, onion, and celery and let evaporate the wine. Now add cold water and ice, add some star anise in infusion and some fennel leaves. Leave to boil for 40 minutes, strain and reduce to the preferred thickness.

For the mushrooms 
Take the mixed mushrooms, toast them in a pan with oil and garlic, season with salt and pepper. Leave 4 slices of mushrooms per person and chop the rest.

For the reduction 
Boil all the ingredients until you reduce by a third and set aside.

For the salted cod tripes 
Chop finely and sauté the shallot, add the salted cod tripe, add wine, a little seafood fumet, cook over a small heat until the tripes are soft.

DISHING OUT
Cook the fusilli al dente in salted water. On the base of the dish place the chopped mushrooms, then the fusilli mixed with the reduction, plus butter and grana. Finally add the tripes, the slices of mushrooms and some parsley. 

Giuseppe Molaro and the gift of a pumpkin

alt_text
alt_text

«My granddad was a farmer», Giuseppe Molaro, chef at Contaminazioni in Somma Vesuviana (Naples) explains, «before the holidays he would give to my family a pumpkin as a present. For Christmas lunch, my mother would cook pasta with pumpkin, she used it simply, without adding anything else. This dish is a result of those memories».

Spaghettini with pumpkin centrifuge juice and cream of toasted pumpkin seeds 

Recipe for 6 people

INGREDIENTS
for the spaghettini
600 g spaghettini
toasted pumpkin seeds 
purée of toasted pumpkin seeds 
purée, brunoise and centrifuge juice of pumpkin

Cook the spaghettini in salted water for 2 minutes. In the meantime, put the centrifuge juice of pumpkin in a pan. Cook the pasta for the remaining time. When it's time to mix, add the purée of toasted pumpkin seeds and the purée of pumpkin.

For the purée of toasted pumpkin seeds 
250 g pumpkin seeds
12 g evo oil 

Mix the pumpkin seeds with the oil, spread on a baking tin and cook at 150°C for 8 minutes. Once toasted, blend with a Bimby processor with 200 grams of water in a pacojet container. Chill, process 3 times, then strain.

For the toasted pumpkin seeds 
toast in the oven at 150°C for 8 minutes

For the pumpkin brunoise 
Blanch for a minute 

for the centrifuge juice of pumpkin 
400 g add gradually until the cooking is complete 

Spaghetti aglione and prawns from Serendepico

alt_text
alt_text

«It's a fresh dish», Masaki Kuroda and Sabrina Falconi of Serendepico, the restaurant inside Relais del Lago in Gragnano di Capannori (Lucca) explain, «and may seem not very wintery but in fact we mostly used dried or macerated ingredients. If collected at the right moment, they can be preserved for a long time. In other words, this is a timeless dish of pasta. The red prawns add the touch of elegance that should not be missed during the holiday meals, and of course a note of red, the colour of the holidays par excellence».

Spaghetti aglione, saffron and red prawns 

INGREDIENTS
Spaghetti
aglione (finely grated, so it becomes a cream)
juice of ginger 
juice of lemon 
soy sauce 
garlic and oil (in a hot infusion at 60°C for 70 grams)
clam stock 
saffron
powdered lemons (the lemons are kept in salt for 1 year, then dehydrated in the oven for 8 hours at 95°C)
red prawns (blended with a drop of broth to make a cream)
umeboshi (plums macerated in salt for a year, with purple shiso, and then blended)

METHOD 
Once you drain the spaghetti (a little undercooked), toss them in the pan and finish the cooking with the vegetable stock (to which we add the saffron), the garlic and oil, the juice of lemon and ginger, the cream of aglione and the soy sauce. This until the spaghetti reach the desired cooking and have absorbed all the broth. Dish out and, with a sac-a-poche, add the cream of prawns and the umeboshi on the spaghetti. Finally sprinkle some dehydrated lemon.